Sitting like an Indian, in the middle of the twin bed, is a skinny little three year old girl. She is wearing a frilly dress and white socks with ruffles and black patent shoes. She has dark brown hair and large hazel eyes that are glistening with joy as she looks through the toy section of the Sears Christmas catalogue.
She is turning the pages slowly and reverently. The little index finger on the left hand runs down the page as she looks at each item, taking it all in before moving on, touching each item as if she can feel what it is made of.
She is so intent on the catalogue that no on can get her attention. Not even the brown Cocker, Brownie, who is lying by her side with his head near her lap. He has been trying to get his head onto her lap but there is no room because the catalogue is there.
Every few minutes he raises his head up and nudges the left hand and the little girl unconsciously pats his head as she devours the wondrous pictures on the page. Then she goes back to touching the items on the page in the catalogue.
She arrives at the page with baby dolls. The big decision when deciding on a baby doll is the color of the hair and eyes. She likes the ones with dark hair and blue eyes just like hers. It also has to have a soft body that feels like a real baby.
But the baby dolls do not actually have hair it is just painted on but that is okay, they look like real babies. Once she has found the one she wants she takes her red crayon and draws a circle around it.
She looks at the page with the doll clothes and blankets but moves on because she knows that Grandmother will make her baby doll beautiful clothes to match some of her little dresses.
Turning the page she sees teddy bears and other stuffed animals. Oh, what wonderful animals they have. But she has a teddy bear that she has had since birth. One of her first memories is of him being in the bed with her, so she passes on by the animal pages.
Next in the catalogue she finds the little tea sets and spends 10 minutes looking over the two pages to see which one would work the best when she has a tea party with the mailman. He stops every day in the summer, when she is home, to have tea and mud pies with her.
She finally finds the right one; it is white with pink roses and has a pitcher, 4 little cups and saucers, a sugar bowl and a little cream pitcher. She draws a red circle with the crayon around the tea set.
Once again Brownie decides that it is time for a pat and pushes on the catalogue and the little hand goes down to rub his head a few times and then goes right back to the catalogue.
The next two pages are tricycles. She has never had a tricycle and looks over the brightly painted red tricycle and thinks how much fun it would be to ride one. Maybe she could keep up with Brownie when he is running if she had one.
A tricycle would also make for a faster get away when she runs off down the street to visit the ladies when they are baking cookies. And it might make it harder for her mom to use the little switch on her bare legs when she makes her come home. The red crayon makes another circle around one of the tricycles.
When she turns the page again she sees the red Radio Flyer wagons. She thinks it would be fun to take Brownie and her baby doll for a ride in the wagon and if she can teach him to pull it he can then pull her down the sidewalk in it. So the red crayon circles one of the wagons.
The next page begins the toys for boys, so she goes back to the front of the toy section to look at girl’s toys. As she goes through the catalogue again, which she will do every day before Christmas, she lays her left hand on the top of Brownie’s head and starts to rub his head and ears.
When Christmas arrives the little girl and her faithful sidekick sit in front of the tree with wide eyes. Santa left the baby doll, the tea set and even the red tricycle; she is so excited she doesn’t know which one to play with first.
In January, on her birthday, the little girl turns 4 and her Dad gives her the small Radio Flyer wagon she had circled in red crayon in the Christmas catalogue. But she has pneumonia and the German measles and can’t go outside so she can only ride in it in the living room.
Her dad is pulling her in a circle around the coffee table as she sits in the bright red wagon. Her best friend, Brownie, is sitting between her legs and they are both enjoying the ride. Between Santa and her Dad and Mom it was a great Christmas and birthday.
It was much easier back then for me to decide what I wanted for Christmas. There were not as many things to choose from and I was sure that Santa would always bring at least a few of the toys I circled with the red crayon.
And maybe, just maybe I would get the other toys (which I had circled in red crayon in the Christmas catalogue) for my birthday when it came around almost exactly a month later. To contact Sandy: [email protected]